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'It's agonizing the passing of the hours.' NASA joins search for missing Argentine submarine

Los Angeles Times + 1 other

NASA, bolstering the efforts of vessels from seven countries, joined the search Saturday for a lost Argentine submarine that hasn’t been heard from since Wednesday morning. The submarine ARA San Juan, with 44 crew members, had participated in naval exercises off southern Argentina before departing Monday from the city of Ushuaia for a naval base in Mar de Plata. The last contact was made after the northbound vessel passed the Valdes Peninsula about 270 miles off Argentina’s coast. The U.S. space agency has sent a P-3 Orion propeller-driven patrol airplane equipped with magnetometers, infrared cameras and other sensors that can detect a submerged submarine. The aircraft, which can also measure ice thickness, is temporarily based in Ushuaia to take part in a NASA survey of Antarctica. Argentine naval officials said they received no distress signals from the vessel, a German-built TR-1700 model, before losing contact. Vessels from Chile, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, South Africa and the United Kingdom are also assisting in the search. Pope Francis, a native of Argentina, said in a statement issued by the Vatican on Saturday that he was praying for the safe return of the submarine and its crew, and for “spiritual serenity and Christian hope” for Argentina. He said he felt especially close to family members “in these difficult moments.” Anguished family members of the crew have gathe…

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Treaty to Phase Out ‘Greenhouse Gasses on Steroids’ to Enter Force

The New York Times + 5 other

UNITED NATIONS — Hydrofluorocarbons. It’s a mouthful of a name for a chemical that keeps the turkey frozen in our refrigerators and also heats up the planet. Now, a landmark international agreement to eliminate HFCs, as the chemicals are better known, is poised to come into effect. On Friday, Sweden became the 20th country to ratify the treaty, joining a diverse group that includes North Korea and Norway. That meets the threshold for the agreement to enter into force at the earliest possible date, according to the treaty: January 1, 2019. It requires every country in the world to phase out the…

Mugabe emerges to attend a graduation

New York Post + 2 other

Grace Mugabe’s rapid political rise had alarmed many who feared she could succeed her husband after he fired his longtime deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, last week. That firing set off the military’s moves, and Mnangagwa is expected to lead any new government. There was no sign of the first lady at Friday’s graduation ceremony. Army troops and armored vehicles continued to patrol the capital, Harare, as Zimbabweans went about their daily business. Residents said they had feared at first when the military moved in but praised the current calm. Headlines in some local new…

Lebanese PM arrives in Paris to meet with Macron

New York Post + 1 other

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris after a tense stay in Saudi Arabia that unleashed fears of a new political crisis in Lebanon. Hariri arrived Saturday in France on Macron’s invitation, and pulled up to the Elysee Palace courtyard in a convoy before being greeted by the French leader on the steps. It’s Hariri’s first appearance outside Saudi Arabia since he made a strange resignation announcement Nov. 4 that some feared was Saudi-engineered. Hariri insisted that he was not a Saudi hostage. Lebanese state-run Nati…

Rampage killer's repeated weapons violations were never reported to prosecutors, district attorney says

Los Angeles Times + 1 other

Tehama County prosecutors were never told that the gunman who killed five people in a rampage this week had for months before regularly fired off weapons at his home despite a judge’s order that he turn in his weapons, the district attorney said Friday. Neighbors of the gunman, Kevin Janson Neal, 44, said they complained to police for months about him firing guns and threatening them, with one resident even filing papers in court. Tehama County Dist. Atty. Gregg Cohen said Friday that had prosecutors known about the complaints, his office could have filed a motion to increase Neal’s $160,000…

Roy Moore’s wife stands by him: ‘He will not step down’

New York Post + 3 other

The wife of Alabama GOP Senate candidate and accused creep Roy Moore stood by her man at a “Women for Moore” rally in Birmingham Friday, calling him a devoted Christian who will not quit the race. “I have been married to my husband for over 32 years. He was a graduate of West Point and served our country in Vietnam and he has always been an officer and a gentleman. He is a loving father and a grandfather. Most important, he is a Christian,” said Kayla Moore, 56, sporting a pair of silver cross earrings as a handful of supporters cheered. “Let me set the record straight. Even after the attac…

US nuke commander says he would resist ‘illegal’ Trump launch order

New York Post + 1 other

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hyten’s remarks. They came after questions by U.S. senators, including Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans, about Trump’s authority to wage war, use nuclear weapons and enter into or end international agreements, amid concern that tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs could lead to hostilities. Trump has traded insults and threats with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and threatened in his maiden United Nations address to “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people if it threatened the …

Keystone pipeline leaks more than 200K gallons of oil

New York Post + 1 other

The Keystone pipeline has leaked more than 200,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota, the company for the project said on Thursday. TransCanada said in a statement that their crews responded to a leak at their Amherst, South Dakota site on Thursday morning and shut down the pipeline after about 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons had leaked. “The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available,” TransCanada said. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources told South Dakota’s KSFY…

Gunman in Northern California rampage 'didn't pick the school randomly,' D.A. said

Los Angeles Times + 1 other

A gunman’s attack on an elementary school during a deadly rampage in Northern California this week was not a random act as authorities initially thought, prosecutors said Friday. Kevin Janson Neal, 44, smashed a stolen Ford F-150 through the front gates of Rancho Tehama Elementary School on Tuesday morning, drove into the center of the quad, got out and shot into classrooms as he tried to get into the buildings, authorities said. The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office initially said Neal’s actions were “random,” but Dist. Atty. Gregg Cohen said that does not appear to be the case. Neal had an on…

Top Florida Dem resigns after women accuse him of creepy behavior

New York Post + 1 other

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Democrat Party chairman resigned Friday after a report of anonymous allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior, a decision he made after four of his party’s candidates for governor said he should step down. The party posted on Twitter a statement from Stephen Bittel, who had held the position since January. “When my personal situation becomes distracting to our core mission of electing Democrats and making Florida better, it is time for me to step aside,” Bittel said. “I apologize for all who have felt uncomfortable during my tenure at the Democratic Part…

Giant worms are a window into the hell of life in North Korea

New York Post + 1 other

SEOUL — Parasitic worms found in a North Korean soldier who was critically injured during a desperate defection highlight nutrition and hygiene problems that experts say have plagued the isolated country for decades. At a briefing Wednesday, lead surgeon Lee Cook-jong displayed photos showing dozens of flesh-colored parasites — including one 10.6 inches long — removed from the wounded soldier’s digestive tract during a series of surgeries to save his life. “In my over 20-year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook,” Lee said. The parasites, along with …

Lost Leonardo Painting Had Tangled Path to $450M Sale

Voice of America + 1 other

Voice of America, Lost Leonardo Painting Had Tangled Path to $450M Sale Just a dozen years ago, a worn, touched-up old painting of Christ went for less than $10,000 (8,450 euros) at an estate sale. On Wednesday, it was auctioned for a record-breaking $450 million (380 million euros) as a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci dubbed "the Last da Vinci" or the "male Mona Lisa." Years of painstaking cleaning and study led scholars to authenticate it as Leonardo's roughly 500-year-old Salvator Mundi, Latin for Savior of the World. But some experts are stunned at the jaw-dropping price for a painting with a patchy history and heavy restoration. Leonardo produced Salvator Mun…

Trump dares ‘biggest loser’ Clinton to run again in 2020

New York Post + 3 other

Go for it, Hill — run again! President Trump slammed political adversary Hillary Clinton in an early Saturday tweet, urging her to take a repeat run for the White House in 2020. “Crooked Hillary Clinton is the worst (and biggest) loser of all time. She just can’t stop, which is so good for the Republican Party. Hillary, get on with your life and give it another try in three years!” Trump wrote at 8:31 am. The tweet comes after Democratic presidential nominee Clinton, who won the popular vote in 2016 but lost the Electoral College to Trump, commented on the sexual harassment al…

Moore mocks McConnell’s call for an investigation into Franken

New York Post + 2 other

Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate accused of sexual misconduct, took a shot at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, mocking his call for an ethics investigation into groping allegations against Sen. Al Franken. “Al Franken admits guilt after photographic evidence of his abuse surfaces. Mitch: ‘Let’s investigate,'” Moore tweeted. “In Alabama, ZERO evidence, allegations 100% rejected. Mitch: ‘Moore must quit immediately or be expelled,'” Moore wrote. McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, has called on Moore to drop out of the…

Franken and Trump: Readers on two politicians' very different reactions to harassment claims

Los Angeles Times + 1 other

During his political career, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) seemed to balance a biting, sometimes off-color sense of humor with personal moral decency so adeptly. Or so we thought. The revelation Thursday that Franken inappropriately kissed model Leeann Tweeden and posed for a photograph as if he were groping her while she slept during a 2006 USO tour — two years before Franken was elected to the Senate — has prompted calls for his resignation, including some from fellow Democrats. Others, including many of our letter writers, question whether an incident like the one to which the senator admitte…

Republicans, Franken, Mugabe: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

The New York Times + 1 other

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.) Good evening. Here’s the latest. Photo Credit Al Drago for The New York Times 1. The House passed its version of a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax cut, moving Republicans closer to a signature victory. The bill cuts the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, collapses the number of tax brackets and eliminates deductions for state and local taxes. It would also result in bigger tax bills for many students. We tracked how every member voted. Attention now turns to the Senate, where another version of the bill is struggli…

Notorious Mafia ‘boss of bosses' Salvatore 'Toto' Riina dies at 87

Los Angeles Times + 1 other

Mafia “boss of bosses” Salvatore “Toto” Riina died early Friday in a hospital while serving multiple life sentences as the mastermind of a bloody strategy to assassinate Italian prosecutors and law enforcement trying to bring down the Cosa Nostra, Italian media reported Friday. He was 87. Riina died hours after the Justice Minister had allowed his family members bedside visits Thursday, which was his birthday, after he had been placed in a medically induced coma at a hospital in Parma, northern Italy. Italian media said his health had deteriorated after two recent surgeries. News of the deat…

Texas sheriff eyeing GOP run for Congress wants to charge woman for anti-Trump sticker

New York Post + 1 other

A Texas sheriff wants to charge a local woman with disorderly conduct for putting a giant anti-Trump sticker on her truck — but prosecutors say he’s spinning his wheels. “F–K TRUMP AND F–K YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM,” screams the windshield-sized decal plastered on the back window of a pickup truck belonging to Karen Fonseca, 46, and her husband. Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy E. Nehls says he wants to slap the couple with disorderly conduct charges for “inciting immediate breach of the peace,” he said, in a Facebook post citing Texas state law. “Many families have calle…